Kanye West Celebrates J Dilla & Taunts Rawkus Records
Kanye West says Michael Jackson inspired him to sing on "808s And Heartbreak."
Chicago rapper Kanye West continued his radio tour this week as he made an appearance on Peter Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds’ Juan Epstein podcast. The G.O.O.D. Music emcee, who has spoken extensively on his Yeezus tour and breaking into the product world, took time to speak on a handful of topics, including the late James “J Dilla” Yancey and being inspired to sing thanks to Michael Jackson.
While speaking on Dilla, Kanye referred to the producer as “a genius” and commented on his inability to top Dilla, Pharrell, Dr. Dre and other beatsmiths when it concerns drums.
“That man was a genius,” said Kanye. “Whatever he could to do tweak that MPC the way he worked. He worked it in a different type of way. Everybody had they—the real producers, everybody had they swag and they thing that they brought. I had this production where I would take these really infectious samples, put an infectious thought/idea that everyone can relate to—cause it felt like no one can relate to me or no one wanted to be me. Everybody wanted to be more gangster and stuff when I was coming [up]…My drums, if you listen to my sonics they wouldn’t compare to anything that Dilla was doing or anything that Dr. Dre was doing or anything that Swizz Beatz was doing or anything that Pharrell was doing.
“Even with ‘Stronger,’ I’d ask Pharrell, I’d ask Timbaland, ‘Help me redo these drums because it just don’t knock,’” he added. “We still be redoing the drums to this day. We still redo the drums to ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing.’ ‘Can’t Tell Me [Nothing]’ don’t knock like—it don’t knock like Mike WiLL. It don’t knock like Travis Scott. I don’t knock like Young Chop.”
During his interview, Kanye also recalled meeting Michael Jackson at Lyor Cohen’s house and being inspired to sing on 808s And Heartbreak due to a comment the late singer made in regards to his “Good Life” record.
“Yeah, I sat with Michael Jackson,” he said. “I met him over Lyor Cohen’s house. And I just vibed out with him. And then like—I think Michael the one that put that battery in my back to do 808s. I played ‘Good Life’ and he was like ‘Who’s that singing right there? I like that voice.’ It was my voice. He gassed me up…I was like ‘Michael Jackson told me I could sing. Fuck all y'all.’"
Lastly, Kanye ended his interview with Rosenberg and Cipha Sounds with a few words for Rawkus Records founders Brian Brater and Jarret Myer. The pair reportedly turned down the rapper after he expressed interested in signing with the now-defunct record label.
“Aye, Jarret and Brian, this is Kanye West talking to you,” 'Ye said. “This is the greatest moment of your Hip Hop life. You passed on signing me cause I didn’t have the look. I wasn’t official enough. You didn’t like the way I rapped. But guess what? I [thunk] myself to annihilate and become the most important, Hip Hop musician of all time. And I’m just getting started… I done already forgot your name and that’s even important to you.”
Audio from Kanye’s interview on the Juan Epstein podcast can be found below (via 2DopeBoyz).